Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
USC, Penn State among teams yet to choose a starting quarterback
As we sit days away from the start of the college football season, several big time programs have yet to make a decision at the most important position in football, Most of these QB competitions that won’t be resolved until noon on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the top 5 quarterback competitions that will affect the 2013 season.
Max Wittek vs. Cody Kessler
On the USC depth chart both Wittek and Kessler are listed as co-starters. This choice could be the decision that decides the future of Lane Kiffin’s career at USC. Both players are redshirt sophomores, though Wittek has the pair's only starting experience after taking over for Matt Barkley in the final two games last season. For the year, Wittek finished 36-of-69 with a 3-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kessler has only two career passing attempts. Kiffin has confirmed that both will play in the Trojans’ season opener against Hawaii. Already firmly on the hot seat, the third year coach can’t get this wrong or he will be gone.
2. West Virginia
Clint Trickett vs. Paul Millard
Dana Holgorsen has the unenviable task of replacing standout quarterback Geno Smith. He will have to choose between the Florida State transfer Trickett and Smith’s former backup Millard. While Millard has experience running Holgorsen’s complex offense, he has only thrown 19 career passes while Clint Trickett has significantly more game experience. Trickett’s best season game in relief of EJ Manuel in 2011, where he started two games and threw for 675 yards and seven touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Ford Childress is third on the depth chart but may play in the season opener.
3. Penn State
Tyler Ferguson vs. Christian Hackenburg
The rebuilding process in Happy Valley continues as Bill O’Brien will be choosing between two quarterbacks who have combined to throw zero passes at the collegiate level. The frontrunner is the highly touted freshman Hackenburg, who was the top ranked quarterback in last year’s recruiting class. While Hackenburg has been impressive since his early summer enrollment, sophomore Tyler Ferguson’s experience in the Penn State offense from enrolling early has kept him in the conversation. The old school O’Brien has said he will pick one quarterback to stick with through the entire 2013 season, but he has said he won’t make his decision public until the offense runs out onto the field for its first series against Syracuse.
Joel Stave vs. Curt Phillips
Head coach Gary Andersen has said his plan is to make his choice for starting quarterback public on the first series of Wisconsin’s season opener Saturday against Massachusetts. Last season, Stave threw for 1,104 yards before being sidelines by a broken clavicle against Michigan State. He was leading the Big Ten in pass efficiency at the time with 149.6 rating. Phillips, a sixth-year senior, started the final five games, but averaged only 77.1 passing yards last season.
Munchie Legaux vs. Brendon Kay
Legaux may have the best name in college football, but his play was so poor midway through last season that Butch Jones handed the starting job to Kay. Kay was impressive as he completed 63 percent of his passes for 1298 yards and a 10-2 touchdown-interception ratio. Despite his 4-1 record as a starter, including a victory over Duke in the Belk Bowl, Kay’s has lost a firm grip on the starting job due to a sore shoulder he has been battling this offseason. Tommy Tuberville says he expects both quarterbacks to see action in the opener against Purdue; however, if healthy, Kay should be the starter.